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[UEFA Europa League] CSKA Moscow VS Lyon 9.3 [Copy Link]

CSKA Moscow: The Russians have plenty of experience ( Recent Form: W D D W W )
CSKA Moscow started its European campaign in the Champions League, but had to endure Manchester United and FC Basel in the group stage of the European champions ball. With third place, however, the Russians were allowed to continue in the knockout phase of the Europa League, in which they barely managed to put Red Star Belgrade aside. After the scoreless draw in Serbia, star player Alan Dzagoev finally shot his team in the return for his own audience to the next round: 1-0. Dzagoev is well underway anyway, because last weekend, he again led to the only goal in the league game against Ural (1-0 win). Thanks to that victory, the Muscovites remain in the race for second place and therefore direct Champions League qualification, although the gap with leader Lokomotiv Moscow is still a hefty eight points. CSKA Moscow is not exactly a goal machine, despite the wintry return of the Nigerian striker Ahmed Musa, but the Russians do have a good defense. In six of the last seven official matches in the own VEB Arena, trainer Viktor Goncharenko's team managed to keep its goal clean (not counting exercise goals). On Thursday, however, the coach has to do some puzzling in his defense because of the suspension of Vasili Berezutski and the injury of Viktor Vasin. The Swedish defensive midfielder Pontus Wernbloom is therefore likely to be pulled backwards to form the defending trio with 35-year-old Aleksei Berezutski and 38-year-old Sergei Ignasevich. The Russian rearguard therefore has plenty of experience, but will have to compete against the French vanguard in terms of speed. The defense of CSKA Moscow will therefore most probably hang with its butt in the goal of goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev.

Olympique Lyon: Genesio is under pressure ( Recent Form: D W D L D )
Olympique Lyon is running in a very changeable season in its own country and is threatening to grab the Champions League qualification again in the French Ligue 1. Leader Paris Saint-Germain is of course supreme, but also AS Monaco and Olympique Marseille are the boss of trainer Bruno Genesio for the time being. Last weekend Les Gones ran a 1-1 draw against Montpellier for the sixth league match in a row loss. On social media, the hashtag #GenesioDemission (#GenesioVertrek) has become popular over the last few weeks, so the coach is under heavy pressure among the supporters. As bad as Olympique Lyon performs in its own country, the French are doing well outside their own national borders. In the group phase of the Europa League, the team effortlessly qualified for the knockout phase, in which it then had little trouble with the Spanish subtopper Villarreal. Thanks in part to a Memphis Depay goal, the team won the first game 3-1, after which a 1-1 draw in the return was more than enough for a spot in the last sixteen. On Thursday, however, the French will most likely have to play without a playmaker Nabil Fekir. Since the summer departure of Corentin Tolisso and especially Alexandre Lacazette, he is the absolute seasoning of Olympique Lyon. With sixteen goals, Fekir and Mariano Diaz can call themselves a shared club top scorer, so his possible lack would be a big loss. Incidentally, with Willem Geubbels the next prodigy is ready again. In the group stage the attacker entered and against Atalanta as a substitute within the lines, which made him the youngest player ever in the Europa League with sixteen years and 113 days. Chelsea, FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich, among others, are eager to capture the attacker, who incidentally has a Dutch father. However, Olympique Lyon does not want Geubbels to go and has a price tag of no less than seventy million euros hung around his neck.

After all, everything points to a low scoring affair. CSKA Moscow scores quite difficult, but the Russians do have a good defense. The lack of speed could indeed cause problems, but I expect the home team to be so sensible to play against the speedy vanguard of Olympique Lyon with little space in the back. With the visitors, star player Fekir is most likely to be absent, so the French attack game is so disrupted. In addition, the temperature in Moscow is far below the freezing point, so the circumstances are not exactly ideal.

CSKA Moscow  VS  Lyon

O/U Pick: Under 2.5 @ 1.81.

UEFA EL    01:00    FT    CSKA Moscow    0 - 1    Lyon
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